Despite what I wrote last week, I decided to watch Hostel. I still stand behind what I wrote, but my reasons for watching were more out of curiosity than anything else. I wanted to know if writer/director Eli Roth had something to say about our post-9/11 fears instead of making a brainless slasher flick. Seeing as how the Halloween/Friday the 13th formula is still in effect with other movies, I was hoping to see a different approach. To my relief, it was. Plus, despite Roth's claims on a commentary track about not trying to make overt political statements, I can't help but think they slipped into the movie anyhow. And that's fine by me.
I'm not one to cheer while watching scenes of torture and gore. No matter who the victim is, it's something I don't wish upon anyone. Not even the kinds of frat dudes I ran into back in college trolling for a "good time." I definitely squirmed while I watched certain parts of the film; I felt no pleasure during its most intense scenes. Especially towards the end of the movie, I constantly felt the five fingers on my left hand to remind myself that I was watching a movie. Despite this, I was glad I watched the movie instead of dismissing it without even taking a look.
In addition to that Morton Downey Jr. clip, I recently caught a slasher film retrospective called Going to Pieces. In it, there's a segment from Siskel & Ebert At the Movies where they rip apart movies created after the box office success of Halloween and Friday the 13th. Coming across as uptight fuddy-duddies, I found their complaints to be on par with Tipper Gore's complaints about Twisted Sister, Charlton Heston's complaints about Body Count and Dan Quayle's complaints about Murphy Brown. In other words, this sounded like a call for "family values" to stomp out this supposed moral decay. I simply roll my eyes at this and sigh.
Hostel is definitely not something I would watch with someone who could not see past the gore and violence. The person could be thirteen, twenty-eight or even forty-four. Age isn't the issue here. And it's not necessarily a matter of life experience or appetite. If you're gonna get up in arms and don't want to watch a movie like this, then don't feel pressured to watch it. I won't criticize you for not watching, but don't think I'm some hellbound, failure of society because I choose to watch.